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E-Verify Starts Today: What Federal Contractors Need to Know

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By Neetal Parekh on September 08, 2009 2:07 PM

According to E-Verify, a law that goes into effect today, federal contractors and subcontractors must enroll in an electronic verification system to confirm the identity and employment status of employees.  The law was first passed by Department of Homeland Security under the Bush Administration but has faced fierce opposition from small business.  In fact, there have been four delays in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to squash the bill.

So what do federal contractors need to know about E-Verify?

  • The E-Verify program is being administrated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA)
  • It is free to employers and is available in all 50 states
  • E-Verify was created to verify employment eligibility of newly hired employees by verifying Social Security numbers and improving accuracy of tax and wage reporting
  • Employers can submit the following information from the new hire's I-9 for E-Verify: employee's name and birth date, SSN, citizenship status, I-94 number if applicable, type of document provided on I-9 to establish work authorization status, and proof of identity.
  • Employers can initiate an E-Verify query after a candidate accepts a position and after the employee and employer complete the I-9 form.  The employer must initiate the verification within three business days of the employee's start date.
  • Employers can initiate the verification before a new employees start date, but it cannot be used as a prescreening technique.
  • Employers can register for E-Verify at :

Why has the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Society for Human Resource Management, and other labor-related associations opposed the implementation of E-Verify?

  • They claim that it is too expensive to use and that its results are not accurate enough. 
  • They point to studies estimating that up to 40,000 federal contractor employees could be marked as illegal workers in the system due to mistakes.
  • Though the program verifies documents, it does not actually verify identities.


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